UN launches ShareTheMeal app to feed Syrian children

Smartphone users in the Arabic-speaking world can help feed Syrian refugee children in Lebanon with just a tap on their mobile phones through the ShareTheMeal application.

ShareTheMealThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched the ShareTheMeal app to help feed Syrian children during Ramadan.

Available on IoS and Android, ShareTheMeal users can ‘share’ their meals while breaking their day-long fast with their families. For a donation as little as 30p, WFP can provide a child with nutrition for a whole day.

“Every cultural and religious tradition in the world teaches us to care for the less privileged and to share what we have. The launch of the app in Arabic provides people in the Arabic-speaking world with an easy way to do good deeds and share meals during the holy month of Ramadan, the month of generosity and giving,” said Dominik Heinrich, WFP Lebanon Country Director and Representative.

Since the launch of the English version of the app last year, more than 500,000 users worldwide have provided the equivalent of more than 5.6 million daily food rations to the poorest and hungriest around the world. The app has received several awards for its design and innovative character, including Google who named it as one of the Best Apps of 2015.

Syrian refugee families in Lebanon receive food assistance through electronic vouchers or “ecards”. Money raised through ShareTheMeal’s fundraising goal will cover the rations for a full year for 1,400 Syrian children aged 3-4 years living in Beirut.

The children’s parents will receive funds transferred to their regular WFP e-cards, allowing them to buy the food they want in local shops, which also supports host communities and the economy. The Arabic version of the app comes as ShareTheMeal plans to reach a zero-hunger future by engaging as many smartphone users as possible.

With the launch in Arabic-speaking countries, a potential market of 117 million smartphone users will be able to download ShareTheMeal from app stores.

The UK’s proudest professions are not digital

A new study says farming, teaching and pharma are the UK’s proudest professions, not the digital and creative industries.

professionsAccording to a new survey from fishing waterproofs brand Stormline about pride in the workplace, farming, education and pharma came out on top while those in the digital and creative industries came somewhere in the middle.

The biggest reason for professional pride was the ability to create or make something. Innovation and helping others were also big sources of professional pride… meaning that the digital industry still has some way to go convincing its creative workers that they are ‘making a difference’.

“The UK’s farmers should deservedly feel proud of their industry and our study bears this out. The overwhelming majority of them feel proud of what they do. They can go home at the end of the day knowing they’ve played their part in producing something.

“This isn’t to do down the pride that those at the cutting edge of software development should feel, they are rightly proud of their professions too, but there is something uniquely satisfying about producing something that you can one day hold in your hands,” said Regan McMillan, director of Stormline.

Other findings were:

* Producing something tangible was the most commonly given reason for professional pride, more commonly cited than innovation and helping others.

* Workers in education, health, social care and personal services all rated high for professional pride and said ‘making a difference’ or ‘helping others’ were the reasons

* The real estate and food, beverage and tobacco industries have the fewest professionals who identify as either ‘very proud’ or ‘extremely proud’ of their industry

* A third of UK workers cited ‘innovation’ as their biggest source of pride. Innovation was the most given reason for professional pride among pharmaceutical, aerospace and chemicals professionals

MindMate app offers hope for dementia sufferers

A new free app MindMate that deals with dementia has been developed by a team of young students.


MindMate is an iOS app that has been developed for those with dementia and, just as importantly, for their families and carers.

Created in consultation with the University of Glasgow’s Geriatric medicine department one of its founders, Rogelio Arellano, 27, cared for his grandfather who had dementia until he passed away.

He used this knowledge and experience to create and launch MindMate with a team of students, all in their 20s.

Available in the Apple store, the app was launched as part of Dementia Awareness Week, but it is also aimed at those with other cognitive disabilities or brain injuries. MindMate won the Sheffield Smart Lab and there will soon be a citywide pilot in Sheffield. The NHS Trust Glasgow & Clyde and 28 care homes around the UK have also adopted the app, with more places launching soon.

The app contains features such as:

* Brain-training games
* Reminder tools
* A story photo book & a ‘Getting to know me’ tool
* Advice on nutrition and exercise
A shop with care and every-day products

New report reveals public apathy for smart cities

Only 18% of the UK public has heard of a ‘smart city’, according to a new report from the IET.


Smart cities may be all the rage with city planners, technologists and the world’s journalists, but it appears to be a different story with the UK people.

Only 18% of the UK public has heard of a smart city, according to research carried out by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

The research is reported in a new IET report, Smart Cities – Time to involve the people, which also reveals low interest in the technologies typically associated with smart cities. For example, only 8% saw a value in being able to order driverless or electric transport from their smart phone.

Cities’ adoption of new technologies has traditionally involved little consultation with consumers. Consequently, the report suggests that the public has yet to buy into the idea of smart cities – and be convinced of the value and benefits that technology could bring to their daily lives.

New disruptive technologies and applications such as Uber and Airbnb or helping to change hearts and minds, but the findings suggest there is still some way to go. Key findings:

* Awareness of smart cities is lowest amongst those aged over 65 (6%) and highest among those aged 18-34 (37%)

* Almost 30% of respondents felt that ‘intelligent’ streetlights activated by movement to improve safety, deter crime and save energy would be useful

* More than 25% were interested in buildings that generate their own energy, and recycle water and waste

* Around 23% thought sensors embedded in roads and buildings that measure traffic flows, predict congestion, and adjust traffic lights and signals, would be useful

The report also cites projects in Glasgow, Peterborough, Bristol and London that have successfully taken a people-centred approach to smart cities and offer examples of how technology can improve the quality of life for residents, workers and visitors alike.

“In spite of substantial investment in smart cities from the Government, local authorities and businesses, most people don’t understand the concept or, more importantly, how smart city digital communications technology could improve their quality of life,” said Alan Howard, IET Head of Thought Leadership.

The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with more than 167,000 members in 150 countries. It reflects the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century and promotes the work of all its members in the engineering ecosystem.

ConnectID address book ready to usurp LinkedIn

A new real-time business social network is set to shake up the jaded LinkedIn model

ConnectID‘The last thing you should have to worry about is maintaining somebody else’s contact details’.

This is the mantra and mission statement from London-based company ConnectID, which has released a real-time social network on Android and the iOS, promising instant contact updates to those who sign up.

The company officially launched in December 2015 and it wants to transform the world’s contact information and change our behaviour for how we access and share contact details. Think of those physical business cards on your desk … imagine them being automatically updated as soon as you touch them.

The Founder of the company is Tassos Papantoniou, a yachtbroker who has experience of how long it takes to find the right yacht for a person and his concomitant network. His Co-Founder, Alison Wightman was Head of Digital at Virgin Atlantic for eight years and is passionate about what the network offers both consumers and businesses.

“We want to organise the world’s contact information and change how we all share and update contacts. Our patented technology will keep an address book up to date and backed up simply by joining the service,” she says.

The company is also being innovative in other ways and has applied to pitch to Richard Branson as part of Virgin’s #VOOM competition and if it gets through this round it could be part of a Guiness world book of records Pitchathon attempt, which would be pretty cool in itself.

ConnectID is one of those simple ideas that look more obvious the longer you think about it. After some serious road-testing, the app is durable, useful and saves a lot of time. I’m going to vote for it in the #VOOm competition, I suggest many of you should do the same.